Ambitious, Just Add Water
Major: Environmental Studies
Soapsuds, rusty car motors, old gas cans, fast-food containers, and a ton of Styrofoam pollute the stream running from Hahamongna Water- shed Park to Cherry Canyon in La Cañada, Calif.
Alice Hall-Partyka puts on her gloves and gets to work, hopping from rock to rock, untangling garbage from the plant life and clearing refuse from the water.
“It’s important to me that I don’t just sit around,” Alice says. “I want to feel that I’ve accomplished something.”
Alice is passionate about water issues. Eventually, she hopes to influence national water quality policies, a goal inspired by the culmination of her work with the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. She was awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award for her project, which required her to address a need in her community.
Tackling the stream in her hometown seemed like the perfect opportunity, especially when she discovered how few people actually know it exists. Long after earning the award, Alice still wakes early on Saturdays to pick up trash with volunteers she’s invited. After a morning of hard labor, several participants tell her they are surprised they enjoyed it so much and want to do it again.
“There will be plenty of opportunities,” Alice replies, and plans are made for the following week.
“I wanted to make sure that the stream wasn’t just clean for the six months I was working on the project,” says Alice, who estimates she and her team have cleared more than 1,000 pounds of debris from the stream.
Her ambition extends beyond Southern California. The project has developed her interest in world health issues as a result of poor water quality, particularly as it relates to children. After college, she plans to join the Peace Corps, and wants to build wells in Latin America or sub-Saharan Africa.
She ultimately hopes to work with new technologies that will make decontaminated water available on a global scale.
“Water perplexes me,” Alice says. “It’s something that we need to live, but it’s also killing so many people, whether from the bacteria, or simply a lack of water all together. There must be a solution.”
Related News Items
- Diagnosis Success December 4, 2014
- Recognition for Pratt’s Work November 18, 2014
- Small in Stature, Big on Health November 13, 2014
- Mechanics of String Theory November 6, 2014
- Collaboration in 3-D October 28, 2014
- Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience Ushers in New Era October 23, 2014
- USC Dornsife Recruits Renowned Leaders in Molecular Research October 23, 2014
- Golgi Your Brain October 20, 2014
- In Their Own Words October 8, 2014
- Sugar Linked to Memory Woes October 7, 2014
- Chemists Dispel Long-held Notion September 26, 2014
- In Memoriam: Richard F. Thompson, 84 September 20, 2014
- Converging Science and Engineering September 18, 2014
- Welcome New Faculty September 16, 2014
- Close Look at Baldwin Hills September 16, 2014
- Heidelberg Steers the Ship September 15, 2014
- Chilton Wins Marine Award September 10, 2014
- Whale Mating: In the Hips September 10, 2014
- A Lexicon of the Brain September 2, 2014
- Discovery in Helium Droplets August 28, 2014